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Dragon Bone (long gu)

What is dragon bone? What is it used for?

While not an herb, dragon bone is nevertheless a vital component of many traditional Chinese medical remedies. "Dragon bone" is actually fossilized animal bone, which is high in calcium, potassium, sodium and other trace elements. The bones are cooked and ground into a powder before being used. In addition, dragon bone is not used by itself, but usually in combination with a number of herbs for different formulas.

In traditional Chinese medicine, dragon bone is considered to have sweet and neutral properties, and is associated with the Heart, Kidney and Liver meridians. Its main functions are to calm the spirit (or shen), heart and liver, and to prevent fluid loss. Typically, dragon bone is used as a sedative to reduce stress and calm the mind, and to help treat cases of insomnia and manic behavior. Dragon bone also has astringent properties, and is often employed to help treat conditions such as excessive perspiration, night sweats and chronic diarrhea. Depending on the condition being treated, dragon bone may be combined with other herbs and substances, such as oyster shell, zizyphus, and biota.

How much dragon bone should I take?

The typical dosage of dragon bone is 10-30 grams per day, used in a decoction or formula with other herbs and substances. Higher (or lower) amounts of dragon bone may be used, depending on the condition being treated.

What forms of dragon bone are available?

Dragon bone is available in powder, pill and capsule forms, and is often included with some prepared herbal remedies. Make sure to purchase dragon bone from a reputable vendor that you can trust.

What can happen if I take too much dragon bone? Are there any interactions I should be aware of? What precautions should I take?

Dragon bone is considered extremely safe. As of this writing, there are no known side-effects due to excessive dragon bone intake, nor are there any known drug interactions with dragon bone. As always, however, make sure to consult with a licensed health care provider before taking dragon bone or any other herbal remedy or dietary supplement.

References

  • Dharmananda S. Acupuncture and herbs for mind and brain disorders. II: Herbs. Institute for Traditional Medicine, 2000. Available online at www.itmonline.org/arts/hrbbrai.htm.
  • Huang YM, et al. Journal of Chinese Patented Medicine 1990;12(6):31-32.
  • Teeguarden R. Radiant Health: The Ancient Wisdom of the Chinese Tonic Herbs. New York: Warner Books, 1998, pp. 236-237.
  • Yang LJ, et al. China Journal of Chinese Medicine 1991;16(9):522-523.
  • Zhang YP, et al. Journal of Trace Elements and Health Research 1995;12(2):27-28.

 



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Date Last Modified - Wednesday, 17-Dec-2008 12:59:02 PDT